Saturday, March 28, 2015


Yeah, Rack-o! This is a deceptively simple game with a surprising amount of difficult decision making. Your goal is straightforward... dealt ten cards with various numbers on them from 1 to 60, your goal is to get them in order. BUT -- you aren't allowed to sort them! They must stay locked in place in their rack! So... how can you sort them? Well, on your turn, you are given a new number card, and you can decide to swap it out for one of your existing cards. Players take turns doing this, and the first one to get a set of ten cards in order wins. There are a surprising amount of decisions in this simple game...

1) Should I take the face up card (the devil I know) or draw a card (a mystery)?
2) Where should I insert the new card? Should I focus on eliminating cards badly out of order, or on expanding the gaps between numbers?
3) There are bonuses given for getting consecutive runs (34, 35, 36, etc.). Should I take the risk of trying to create runs? Or just be the first to call rack-o?
4) If I don't get rack-o, I still get points, based on how many cards, starting at my lowest, are in order. Should I prioritize getting my lower cards in order first?

It isn't the game of the century, exactly, but it does take a lot of thinking (though, not too much), and the bonus system makes for some exciting upsets. It's a simple, solid, well-designed game. I wish I knew who the inventor was -- he or she certainly had an eye for elegant design.

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